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article imageCosta Concordia Chaos: Survivors testify at Schettino trial

By Marcus Hondro     May 17, 2014 in World
The trial of the Costa Concordia's captain continues in Italy and last week it was time for survivors to tell of their experience that tragic night. They spoke of chaos and a legacy that includes panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Even now I have panic attacks,” passenger Ivana Codoni testified. “They never happened to me before the accident.” A hairdresser from Rome told the court that the moment of impact when the ship hit a reef was frightening. “We went from a mood of happiness and wonder at being on a cruise to panic," she said.
The testimony of multiple passengers at the trial of Francesco Schettino revealed some of what they went through, and it was not dissimilar to what hundreds went through in the recent tragedy that took 304 lives in South Korea when the Sewol, a ferry, sank.
The passengers on the Sewol, mostly high-school students, were told to stay in the ship and Costa Concordia passengers were told the same, according to Ms. Codoni and others. “The crew were telling us to return to our cabins but we knew that we would be trapped,” Ms. Codoni said. “Instead we rushed onto the decks to try to escape.”
Costa Concordia: Delay in order to abandon ship
Others spoke of being told that the problem was simply an electrical blackout. The court has been told previously that the order to abandon ship was delayed for more than an hour and that a more prompt order would have saved lives.
It was on Jan. 13, 2012 that the Costa Concordia was taken too close to the shore of the island of Giglio in the Tuscan Sea and hit a reef, tearing a huge hole in the hull and causing the ship to list over with 65 percent of her under water. Thirty-two people died.
The ship has been raised by a process called parbuckling and is now being prepared to be towed to an as yet unchosen port for dismantling. It will be towed by the Dockwise Vanguard, a massive semi-submersible out of the Netherlands that was built to transport offshore oil and gas facilities, and large ships.
The trial of Schettino, 54, began in July and has continued, with breaks, since; it's unknown how much longer it will go on. He is charged with causing a marine disaster, manslaughter and abandoning his ship. If found guilty he could get up to 20 years in prison.
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